Written by Matthew Slinn, Josh Farnzy, Stefaun Forge, Baylee O’Shaughnessy and Rachelle Colston

Images by Hubba Kimbrel

Rank
Team
Record
(Movement)
Recap

~1

Baltimore Vultures
1-0
(-)
The Baltimore Vultures hosted the Los Angeles Lycans in their season opener. The Vultures dominated the game and defeated the Lycans 57-10. QB Jack Wigmore picked the Lycan’s defense apart with his 506 passing yards. Wide receivers Ivory Ervin, Daley Holder and Mac Chimah each had over 100 receiving yards. The Baltimore defense was just as solid holding the Lycans offense to just 313 yards. FS Ben Stackinpaper and CB Austin Brigham each had two interceptions and LB Alvin Mack had 9 tackles which included one TFL. The Vultures will travel to Portland next week to play the Fleet.

~2

Arizona Scorpions
1-0
(-)
A relentless start from the Arizona Scorpions against last season's championship game runner up catapulted them to a famous Week 1 victory and launched them to #2 in our power rankings. Effective use of the ball, especially through the air, helped the Scorpions initially stun the Storm defence. Ashley Jackson showed once again how capable she can be when she is sae with the ball, hitting her receivers 29 times for 331 yards and three scores. She did blotch the paper with a lone interception, but in the context of the game this was largely inconsequential. Favourite target Donnie Hands continued to shine after a stellar Season 16 campaign, and the new combination of TJ Punk and Will Todd at TE looked solid. On the other side of the ball, the Scorpions had sting, not allowing Florida to score a touchdown until the 4th quarter, which as we know was deep into garbage time. Sean Lee was a stand out, looking settled in his new home and the defensive line hurried Ron Cockren all day, coming home with 4 sacks in the end. Gauge really knows how to coach that D-line. Another tough on paper home game greets the Scorpions this upcoming weekend as they play host to the Fort Worth Toros. Another victory and people will start crowning Arizona as division favourites already.

3

Denver Nightwings
1-0
(-)
A new day has dawned in Denver. Gone is much of the championship-winning lineup to retirement, but some things remain the same. In Denver, that means the “Ws” are still coming in. The Nightwings outlasted the KIngs, 31-23 this past weekend in a Season 17 opener many had eyeballs on to see how the new Denver players would do. All in all, it was an above average showing for the rookie crop. New quarterback Eric Price was accurate and efficient - posting a 23-for-26, 273 yards stat line with a 3-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio and showing poise on key third down throws. He seemed to develop fast chemistry with second-year wideout Riley Quintero, who had five catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. New running back Baylee O’Shaughnessy had 103 yards on 22 touches and his first career touchdown to give Denver a consistent duel threat on Saturday. Mat Fenech was solid as well replacing a legend as the new kicker. The defense had four sacks and held running back Jared Willis to two yards per carry to help keep the King offense at bay. The new-look Nightwings continue their championship-defense tour this week in Atlanta against the Swarm.
4
Houston Hyenas
1-0
(-)
His name is Dave Burr, and he seems to mean business here in Season 17. The new Hyena signal-caller was phenomenal in his debut in Houston - throwing for 414 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 48-17 sinking of the Portland Fleet. Burr looked comfortable running the offense - spreading touchdowns out to four different targets and finding the right throw at seemingly the right time, every time. Speaking of finding the right throw, D.R. Sim continued to put his signature on one of the all-time receiving careers with nine catches, 195 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Finamore’s nine catches for 86 yards and a TD helped provide a balanced passing attack. The retooled defense was strong. The Hyenas pressured rookie quarterback OJ Bruin into errant throws and forced the Portland offense to convert only 38 percent of their third down conversions. Ethan Kye and Brady Clarke had takeaways for Houston and linebacker Brody Gulch had 12 tackles in the win. His name is Dave Burr, and he will continue his hot start this week as the Hyenas travel to San Diego.
5
Mexico City Aztecs
1-0
(-)
Mexico City came out like a house on fire in the first half with Matt Willson, Phoenix Jones, Mike Daggs, Fox Highwind and rookie Nate Ritters picking up the offense right where it left off last season. They made it look easy en route to putting up 24 first half points. The defense was just as big intercepting 2 Ace Fenech passes to setup 10 of those points.
Mexico City almost finished like… a dumpster fire. The offense lost its rhythm for much of the 2nd half. Matt Willson threw 2 interceptions in a disastrous 3 possession stretch that included a punt, a pick and a pick 6 that made it 24-17. The pick 6 came on a drive when it appeared the Aztecs were on a march to put the Glory down for good. The Defense though continued to show up and shut down the Glory offense. Willson and the offense rebounded from their issues and followed the pick 6 with a steady, precise, well executed drive that ended in Phoenix Jones game clinching TD run in the 31-17 win. Up next for the Aztecs a trip to Carolina to take on the Skyhawks.
6
Vancouver Legion
1-0
(-)
To open the season the Legion did what the Legion does… pile up stats and points. Putting up numbers that were awesome even for them. Tom Pepper, Kendra Hall and Brett Killian shredded the DC defense with an aerial assault of historic proportions. Pepper set an SFL record with 737 yards passing and added 6 TDs just for good measure. Hall finished with 305 yds and 2 TDs and Killian had 248 and 1 TD. Oh and yes the Legion scored 55 points and won the game.
The flip side of that is that the Legion also did what the Legion does… give up stats and points. Allowing 500 yards and 5 TDs through the air while giving up 52 points. This has to be a significant concern for the Legion. Winning shootouts has worked well for them in the regular season but in the post season when things get tighter and games get tougher it has regularly left them short of a championship. The Legion travel to Lone Star to take on the Glory in a matchup filled with glorious storylines give the intertwining and overlapping of the 2 franchises.
7
Florida Storm
0-1
(-)
High on my perceived list of Florida's priorities heading into Week 1 was to keep the momentum gathered after Season 16's near championship winning run. A road game against the giant-killing Arizona Scorpions was never going to be any easy task, and it proved to be just that - a momentum killing 20-34 drubbing, and being honest, it wasn't that close. Ron Cockren struggled for most of the game, only really coming to life in the 4th quarter when the game was already out of reach. The offensive line was under the cosh against Arizona's celebrated defensive front, Mark Melo in particular causing Cockren fits. Charlie Biletsky couldn't really get going as Florida chased the game, catching over 10 passes with a few rushes thrown in as well, but everything seemed rather pedestrian. Zharkov had a nice game from TE but he isn't really a player who is going to change a game. Stephen Black looked great at linebacker and Ryan Davidson did his best to stop the efforts of the Hands brothers, but zero penetration from the defensive line gave Ashley Jackson too much time to throw in the first half, and the deficit was too much to overcome. It's Week 1, so the majority of us in the SFL will expect to see a response. A retooling Jacksonville Kings team may find themselves trying and failing to weather the Storm.
8
Carolina Skyhawks
1-0
(-)
Talk about scoring in bunches! The Carolina Skyhawks landed in Louisiana and put a first half beat down on the Revolution to open their season, hitting half time with a 31-7 lead that any coach of any team would be thrilled with. There were still issues though that perhaps stops the Skyhawks from reaching higher in our rankings. The second half saw zero points and the offense was simply shut down. Logan Jack barely got off the mark on the ground, and his usual high production in the passing game wasn't particularly evident either. The saving grace came from a rather unpredicted area - Matt South. South looked fantastic in his first start away from Portland, hitting 30-35 passes with a couple of touchdowns on the board too. South already seems to have garnered a great rapport with his two top receivers and it was also promising to see slot receiver Sam Avolis score a touchdown. The defense was pretty solid all game without needing to be spectacular. John Nevels and Chad Stinson were excellent against the run, and Mark Martin recorded an impressive 3 TFLs from corner. Holding Reggie Streeter to 55 yards is an achievement not to be sniffed at. The Skyhawks pulled out a strong win this week and will want to do the same next time out when they face Mexico City.
9
Charleston Predators
1-0
(-)
Let’s just say that the Predators with a solid lead blocker at FB look far better off than last year. HB Swearingen had 30 carries for 144. Add in FB Terrell Southerland’s 3 runs for 18 yards and that kind of production helps you win time of possession! Not only that, it opens up the passing game for TD Drew, who went 20 for 27 for 199. He didn’t get caught doing too much, because Swearingen was consistently effective. Now take a look at that defense: one of only 4 teams this weekend to hold their opponent to under 300 total yards! The defense last year kept this team in games. It would now appear that the offense can take that and literally run with it! I made the prediction last season that the Predators would make solid improvement, and under new leadership and a different scheme, it appears that we may see opponents fear this matchup. They came away with a win over the Fury, 17-5. The Predators take on the Louisiana Revolution this Saturday at 2:30pm EST on Next Level Sports and FTF Twitch.
10
Queen City Corsairs
1-0
(-)
In a game that by most measures, on paper at least, was a mismatch, Queen City proved once again that the old adage that “SFL games aren’t played on paper their played on Cam’s X Box” still rings true. Queen City was a team that had undergone massive organizational transition. The front office and coaching staff were completely overhauled. 2 long time stalwarts Jeff Duffy and Chris Curtis left in FA. A rebuild seemed to be in the works and it may still be but when they hit the field Saturday none of that mattered.
The Corsairs came out with fire and determination and completely owned the first half building a 10-0 lead while holding the Toros only 48 yards of total offense. The lead could have been at least 16 possibly 24 were it not for 2 interceptions in the end zone to stop a Queen City scoring opportunities. In the 2nd half they held strong refusing to yield to the Toros even when they took the lead 24-17. The Corsairs rallied behind QB AJ Caswell, RB Jett Zero and their defense to tie the game at 24. The defense shutout Fort Worth the rest of the way and the offense conducted a clinical 2 minute to score the game winning TD with 39 seconds left in their stunning 31-24 victory. The Corsairs now have a home date with Tulsa on their card.
11
London Knights
1-0
(-)
What. A. Game.

The fans in London were treated to a stonking game in Week 1, prompting cries of 'Jolly good show old boy!' from the sell-out crowd. The Knights offense came out of the locker room like they had been inspired by a speech from the Queen, putting Atlanta to the sword with well over 500 yards through the air. Jonny Pichler, who clearly has acclimatised to the English way of life, tossed the ball with ease, recording 548 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn't all tea and crumpets for Pichler, who hit the opposition DBs three times as well (including what could have been a costly INT as the Knights ran down the clock) but he showed a lot more in one game than he did all of last season. Robert Merrill was used about as much as air conditioning is in Scotland, although he did chip in with a receiving touchdown. Vin Calia continued to make people wonder why he is so under-rated and Mike St. Green delighted the home crowd with some big plays of his own. Cam Frosby was decent on defense but this game was all about the offense and a miraculous, game-winning, 48 yard FG from London's generic kicker to ice the game for the Knights. London spend next week entertaining a different type of Queen as they travel to the home of the Corsairs. Expect another game more entertaining than watching an American try to make a good cup of tea.
12
Sioux Falls Sparrows
1-0
(-)
A good win at home against the Mavericks scoring 33 would seem like all is well in Sioux Falls, right? The Sparrows have through the air what they must find on the ground. In a first weekend of offense in the SFL, we saw a ton of passing. Call me “old-school,” but that will not win enough games down the line. RB Colin Hart needs to be handed the ball. He was 11 for 46, averaging over 4 ypc. Don’t get me wrong here: QB Julian Tyree was solid and you don’t fix what isn’t broken. But, there needs to be a more complete scheme. Now, this is just the first week. I have nothing else to go by this season, so call me Chicken Little (to stay with the bird theme). We will know much more as this season warms up. Sioux Falls travels to Tulsa for their game on Friday at 12:30pm EST on FTF and FTF Twitch.
13
DC Dragons
0-1
(-)
For DC this game looked like the coming out party that has been predicted for them in Season 17. Building from the ground up is tough but DC has done it very well and this game, despite the loss, could serve a defining moment in their rise. Shabazz Synergy , WRs Jeff Banfield and rookie Mike Churchill carved up the Legion D like a hot knife through butter. Synergy finished with 500 yards and 5 TDs. He led DC to 52 points including a scintillating rally from 16 points down late the 4th to tie the game.
The Dragon D had a tough day against Vancouver but a lot of defenses have a tough day against Vancouver. The Dragon D, like the rest of the team is young and developing and will undoubtedly continue to progress and get better as the season goes along. Playing Vancouver is always tough, playing them week 1 is almost impossible so this game appears to be an outlier for the DC defense. DC faces off against the powerful Las Vegas Fury in week 2 but will have that game in DC.
14
Fort Worth Toros
0-1
(-)
Coming into the matchup Fort Worth had been the talk of the off-season and a trendy pick to win it all. They even added former Corsair standout DE Jeff Duffy to a defense that was already a top 5 unit. While the Toro D was primed and ready for the matchup the Toro offense was stuck in neutral and eventually put into Park by the Corsair defense in the 1st half. They totaled only 48 yards of offense and 0 points. The Toro D kept them in the game with 2 clutch endzone interceptions to keep Queen City’s lead at only 10-0.
In the 2nd half the Toros found their spark through Special Teams on an 83 yard punt return TD from Cade Stephens. From there they surged like good teams do scoring 17 of the next 24 points to take a 24-17 lead in the 4th quarter capped by J Williams 52 yard TD run. Then the offensive demons of the 1st half reappeared at the worst possible time. With the ball near midfield and a 7 point lead they appeared primed to close out the game with another score, instead they went 3 and out gaining just 1 yard and relinquishing control of the game to Queen City. The Corsairs seized the moment and handed the Toros a stunning 31-24 defeat. Fort Worth next faces Arizona in what should be a scintillating match up.
15
Atlanta Swarm
0-1
(-)
The Atlanta Swarm lost in heart-breaking fashion this Week, taking a 38-41 loss in London on the back of a long range, last minute field goal from the Knights' generic kicker. In truth, the Swarm were always chasing the game, but showed excellent character to peg back London and be in with a shout of stealing a victory and taking it back to the USA. Bryant Dynasty has been known as a bit of a clutch performer, and he had an excellent game, hitting 40 connections for nearly 500 yards and 4 TDs for 0 interceptions. His connection with Boo Chisholm was lighting up on the regular, moving the sticks consistently to allow Dynasty to hit players like Falco and Jamaal Wooding in the end zone. This game was full of big plays from Atlanta - Falco, BDG, Jay Miraculous - they all made amazing plays in huge moments. That's why it is even more jarring to see it end up in a loss. Th Swarm look hot. They just need to focus that heat into a winning record.
16
St. Louis Gladiators
1-0
(-)
Football can be a game of inches. This past weekend, it was a single inch that proved to be the difference between a 24-17 St. Louis victory and a trip to overtime. The Gladiators got a final stop at the 1-yard-line as time expired to preserve the 1-0 start. Geralt Winkler was a nightmare for the Tulsa offense - intercepting Jay Cue three times to hit the brakes on a couple Desperado drives. It was part of a strong defensive effort that forced four Tulsa turnovers and limited their field position at critical times in the first half, especially. Second-year quarterback Christian Brown was workmanlike in this season opener, going 22-for-27 with 225 passing yards and no turnovers. The Gladiator offense was well balanced. Even on running the ball, the split backfield of Kairo Martinez and Bill Cherry was efficient moving the sticks. With a 1-0 start - and a 1-0 start within the division at that - St. Louis will need to keep battling for more inches this week when they visit a hungry Los Angeles Lycans squad.
17
Jacksonville Kings
0-1
(-)
Marcus Dunhill’s highly anticipated return to under center in the SFL came with a fair share of highlights, but unfortunately for Jacksonville, also came with a loss to defending champion Denver, 31-23 to open Season 17.
Dunhill threw for 368 yards and a touchdown to tight end Jack Wall with only one interception. Wall was dominant - catching 13 balls for 153 yards - finding soft spots in the Denver secondary. The Denver defense seemed to key-in on running back Jared Willis, who could only shake free for 43 yards on 21 carries, though he did find the end zone once. The lack of balance on the ground turned promising drives into field goal attempts. This, despite the fact Jacksonville outgained Denver on the day. The defense also just couldn’t quite rattle rookie quarterback Eric Price, who only missed on three of his 26 passes. Things don’t get easier for Jacksonville, as they head down the road to battle the other championship game finalist from last year in the Florida Storm.
18
Tulsa Desperados
0-1
(-)
Was he in? Was he not? With nine seconds remaining, down seven, Jay Cue delivered a pass over the middle to tight end Jason France. His final lunge at the end zone was very close - and at regular speed - seemed as if he may have broken the goalline. He was ruled down at the 1-yard-line with no booth review and Tulsa fell short of a comeback, 24-17. Questionable ruling aside, the Desperados were sharp on defense. Chris Andrews recorded two sacks, three tackles for loss and seemed to be disrupting the Gladiator backfield even more than the statistics show. Linebacker Carson Miller (14 tackles) was steady - a characteristic that carried through for much of the Tulsa defense. And while the offense was sputtering, especially in losing the turnover battle 4-0, they showed some grit closing the two-score gap down the stretch and running a smooth two-minute drill to even get into position for that last play. So, was he in? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter moving forward. It’s one for the chat channels now. The Desperados must put their disappointment in the rear view mirror and be ready for a rejuvenated Sioux Falls team coming to town this week.
19
Las Vegas Fury
0-1
(-)
It was a rough day for the Fury offense as they lost 17-5 to the Charleston Predators. QB Joseph Green spent too much time on the ground tossing 2 interceptions due to pressure, and finished with a completion percentage under 55%. Usually productive RB Scott Johnson struggled to get going, garnering only 60 yards off of 20 carries. They were up against a traditionally stout Predators defense. But they must be able to be more efficient, even on their worst days, to compete in a tough division with the offenses of the Arizona Scorpions and last season’s champion, the Denver Nightwings. The defense had its struggles as well. Giving up 162 yards on the ground isn’t going to win you many games in the pass-happy SFL. Granted, this is only the first game of the season, and the Predators are looking to be a top 10 team. But, Las Vegas needs to quickly show some ability to get into the end zone, or this could be a long season in Sin City. Las Vegas travels to D.C. to take on the Dragons Friday night at 8pm EST on FTF Twitch.
20
Lone Star Glory
0-1
(-)
Lone Star coming into the season after an off-season that was defined by change looked like a team that was a little unsettled in their opener against Mexico City. QB Ace Fenech was slightly off throwing a few INTs. The run game was clearly not the same without FB Cam Collier leading the way for RB Ike McBride. The defense was clearly affected by the losses of Doug Day and Coach Craven.
With all that they fell behind by double digits early on and never really recovered. They trailed 24-10 at the half. Early in the 4th Qtr they flashed the quality that made them a playoff team last season with defense getting on the scoreboard with a dramatic interception return for a TD by Albert Begin to draw within 24-17 but could not get any closer the rest of the way and fell 31-17. There is little reason to doubt that the Glory will rebound from this and be a playoff team by season’s end. Week 2 doesn’t get any easier though as the point-a-minute offense of Vancouver is next on the docket.
21
Portland Fleet
0-1
(-)
A strong second half to Season 16 and promising rookie quarterback OJ Bruin made the Fleet one of the favorite SFL candidates for a turnaround and darkhorse playoff team. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Houston. The Hyenas beat Portland in all three phases of the ballgame and exploded for a 48-17 win over the Fleet to open the Season 17 campaign. Bruin showed some flashes, but also some rookieness (it’s a word, I swear) in throwing two interceptions and missing on some throws that could have extended drives - or Portland’s number on the scoreboard. Bruin was far from the only one to blame in orange and navy blue this past weekend. The defense could not seem to get off the field, as Houston quarterback Dave Burr picked apart the vaunted Portland defense. There were bright spots. Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Ezekiel Love had 163 yards and a score on 22 carries. Defensive tackle Gary Birney had four tackles for loss, including half of a sack. A visit from the Baltimore Vultures is hardly a promising sign to turn things around, but perhaps with a top team coming to town, a strong showing can quickly erase the memory and sting of the opening weekend game.
22
Louisiana Revolution
0-1
(-)
The Louisiana Revolution missed the opportunity t put last season firmly behind them with a victory, going down 31-17 to the Carolina Skyhawks after a first half blitz of points from the away squad. It has been an off-season of change in Louisiana, including at the quarterback position, rookie Tommy Utah coming in to replace the departed Jonny Pichler. Utah had a solid game to start the season, but he was put on his back too many times, taking four sacks in total. Other than a couple of short yardage TDs from Reggie Streeter, Louisiana's offense lacked cutting edge whilst chasing the game. The defense literally did have a game of two halves, unable to stop Carolina at all in the first half, yet following that with as solid a second half as you're ever going to want. Consistency is needed in Louisiana. Charleston are up next.
23
San Diego Mavericks

0-1
(-)
Maybe I’m just a running back at heart, but what is with all the teams this week passing 30+ times and having a RB with over 4 yards per carry? HAND OFF THE BALL! I digress… The metal birds got beat down 20-33 by the little birds in week 1 of Season 17, despite owning time of possession by almost 4 minutes. QB Javier Vasquez wasn’t getting a ton of help: 8 drops were counted. RB Jaylin Wells was only given 15 chances. They need more balance to take the heat off of the receivers and QB. The defense didn’t fare much better, giving up 361 through the air, though they did well against the ground game, allowing only 50. Just about everyone expects this team to do better than last season. But, this game looked unfortunately like the Mavericks could end up in the lower tier of the SFL again. Let’s hope that they can get things going this coming week. San Diego hosts the Houston Hyenas high-powered offense this Friday at 8:20pm EST on SFL Twitch!
24
Los Angeles Lycans
0-1
(-)
LA fans may want to say “woof” about this weekend’s game, but we are going to go with “oof” because the Lycans were too far away from a “W” to even use that explanation. After finishing Season 16 with a 6-7 record and a wildcard trip to the playoffs, the Lycans took the field for their first game of Season 17 against the Baltimore Vultures with high hopes. I am still not sure what James Richards, the Lycans new Head Coach, was thinking with that game plan. Do the Lycans have Wide Receivers or Tight Ends? I had to look at their roster to verify that question since they threw to their fullback and running back 90% of the game. Let’s talk about the Lycans defense. One would think with 6 veteran defensive backs the Lycans could at least stop the pass attack of the vultures, sadly this was not the case because they gave up 506 passing yards. Let’s hope they can regroup and fix things before they host the St. Louis Gladiators next weekend.